From: Associated Press
Published November 8, 2004 12:00 AM

Japan to Meet Kyoto Protocol Targets by Buying Rights to Pollute from Companies in 2006

TOKYO − Japan's government said Monday it will try to meet its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions promised under the Kyoto Protocol on global warming by purchasing the right to pollute from Japanese companies.


The protocol commits 55 industrialized nations to make significant cuts in emissions of gases like carbon dioxide by 2012. Following Russia's endorsement on Thursday, the treaty can go into effect next year.


Tokyo, one of the treaty's biggest supporters, has pledged a 6 percent cut in emissions of greenhouse gases, which trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere and are thought to be a chief cause of global warming. But without major policy changes, Japan's emissions are expected to continue rising.


On Monday, the Environment Ministry said Tokyo plans to buy the rights to emit about 19 million tons of pollutants -- or roughly 1.6 percent of the country's total annual emissions -- from companies beginning in 2006.


Details will be worked out by a panel formed later this year, the ministry said.


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Negotiated in Kyoto, Japan, the climate treaty requires industrialized countries to cut their collective emissions of six key greenhouse gases in 2012 to 5.2 percent below the 1990 level.


Under the treaty, companies that lower their emissions output can collect pollution right credits. Those credits can be sold to governments that can't reach emissions reduction target on their own.


The United States -- which alone accounted for 36 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in 1990 -- and Australia have rejected the treaty.


Japanese officials say a slew of proposals under consideration wouldn't stop emissions in Japan from rising in 2010 from 1990.


To reverse the trend, the Environment Ministry has been considering tax incentives to encourage wider use of renewable energy and energy-saving technologies as well as laws to lessen transport pollution by shifting deliveries from land routes to sea.


According to government statistics, greenhouse gas emissions from Japan's factory smokestacks, cars and household appliances rose nearly 7.6 percent in 2002, compared with 1990 levels.


Because Japan's economy has rebounded after more than a decade of slow growth, greenhouse gas discharges are expected to continue surging.


Source: Associated Press


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